Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Health Care A Right?

You often hear people argue that health care is a right.  Is that true?  If so, why?

Imagine two different people: one lives a healthy life style, saves their money, purchases health insurance; the other smokes and drinks, becomes heavily overweight, saves nothing and has no health insurance.  If health care is a right, then the first person is legally required to use their savings to provide health care for the second person.  How fair is that?  People make choices.  Should they be insulated from the results of those choices?

You might argue: how can people who have made bad choices be taken care of?  Historically, the answer has been charity.  Charity hospitals once were ubiquitous in America.  But they disappeared when medicare and medicaid took over.  Charity hospitals provided excellent care because they were usually the breeding ground for future doctors, who did internships in the charity hospitals.

Imagine this idea: if someone deliberately contracts a terminal disease -- deliberately -- that costs billions of dollars to cure one person.  Should society foot that bill?  Why?

By forcing those who play by the rules to pay for those who don't play by the rules, inevitably, you will end up with many more people not playing by the rules.

It is different, if through no fault of their own, someone has a debilitating disease without the funds to get treatment.  Then, it seems that, within limits, society has an obligation to help those who are ill through no fault of their own.   But, this is a very, very tiny group of people and would cost very little in the aggregate to provide for this group.

Our health care system is burdened down with people who consciously made decisions that they knew would result, later, in serious illnesses.  I don't see the case for forcing taxpayers, who consciously made good decisions to fund those who deliberately and knowingly made bad decisions.  I can see the argument for private charity in these cases, but not public charity.

Those who disagree with this have a simple solution.  Give your own money to help fund folks who made bad decisions, but don't require lower middle income families, playing by the rules, struggling to support their families, to bankroll bad behavior.  That's what medicare and medicaid does.

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